Most of the deed restrictions and restrictive covenants that kept people of color out of neighborhoods in Seattle and the suburbs were imposed by land developers and real estate companies as new sections of vacant land were platted as subdivisions and properties sold. But some neighborhoods have a different history, one in which segregation was a community enterprise, where White neighbors banded together to impose, monitor, and enforce racial exclusions. Here we identify some of those aggressively segregated neighborhoods, that were proudly and notoriously labeled "RESTRICTED." Follow the links below to learn more.
William Boeing, the founder of Boeing Aircraft, purchased large tracts of land in what is now Northwest Seattle and Shoreline from Puget Mill Company intending to develop and sell lots and homes. Blue Ridge was the first of the Boeing subdivisions. Boeing filed a set of "Protective Restrictions" to foreover govern the nearly 476 properties in the neighborhood, one of them requiring that properties shall never be sold or occupied by "persons not of the White or Caucasian race." In 1941, residents organized the Blue Ridge Club with authority over beach areas, parks, and the community center. They established bylaws with even stricter restrictions specifying that “No Asiatic, Negro or any person born in the Turkish Empire, nor lineal descendant of such person shall be eligible for membership in the Club.” [MORE]
Worried that Black families might seek housing north of Madison Ave, a group of white homeowners in the Capitol Hill Community Club began a campaign in 1927 to change all of the deeds in the area. This was a more complicated undertaking than adding a restriction to newly subdivided property. An extensive effort was required to convince 958 homeowners to sign on to the restrictive covenant that would bind their property and limit their freedom and that of future owners. The Capitol Hill campaign inspired similar segregation efforts in other neighborhoods and when the restrictions expired in 1948, the Community Club mounted a new campaign to renew them. But this time faced determined resistance[MORE]
One of the most unusual of the nearly 500 racial restrictive deeds that we have located covers a five-acre subdivision in Clyde Hill, near Bellevue. Between 1946 and 1948, J. Gordon and Mary Schneidler subdivided and sold more than a dozen lots. Each deed of sale included the following restriction: “This property shall not be resold, leased, rented or occupied except to or by persons of the Aryan race.” The concept of an Aryan race of northern Europeans had been embraced by Adolph Hitler who turned it into a genocidal strategy before and during World War II. By 1946, the full dimensions of the Nazi holocaust were known everywhere. Given that post-war context, it is doubly surprising that the Schneidlers used this language in deed restrictions on properties they sold after the war.[MORE]
William and Bertha Boeing subdivided land just north of Seattle in 1940, creating a "restricted" neighborhood named Innis Arden with extraordinary views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. Even after racial discrimination became illegal in 1968, the bylaws of the Innis Arden homeowner's association included the notorious item #14 restricting ownership to persons of the "White or Caucasian race." And over the decades when some residents tried to get their neighbors to change the bylaws, they could not muster the necessary number of signatures to do so. It was not until 2006, and under pressure from the state legislature, that the homeowners association finally changed the bylaws.[MORE]
The Northeast neighborhoods of View Ridge and Wedgewood were created by developer Albert Balch and his partners on land that was initially north of Seattle boundaries. From the start Balch imposed racial restrictions. What is more, he aggressively advertised View Ridge as "Restricted Neighborhood" often explaining in Sunday newspaper ads that it was smart to buy in a restricted neighborhood: "They maintain their value much longer." He continued to stress restrictions when he sold properties in Wedgwood and other neighborhoods well into the 1950s.[MORE]